What I Learned from Bar Camp at #OrlandoTech Week.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Participating in my first #OrlandoTech Week was a fun, exciting, awesome and overwhelming experience, even though I have been involved in technology for quite a few years there is always an excitement meeting people with diverse skills related to technology that are not in the education field.

The beauty is that what I learn I can share with my students in Duval County Public Schools and with my students in my Educational Technology and Social Media class at Edward Waters College.

Being engaged with industry leaders, creators, developers and programmers allowed me to learn that there are many diverse areas in the expanding fields of technology and tech integration. The faces of the people in fields of web development, programming, coding and jacksonville-wordcampother fields have changed from representing a single culture to one of beautiful and dynamic cultural diversity and gender inclusion.

Although more needs to be done, this will only happen when boys and girls of color, culture and diversity continue to earn degrees and certificates in the diverse fields of technology. The passion must come from parents to create the vision that their children of color, culture and diversity can be successful in all areas of STEM – Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (Medicine), not only participate, but contribute as well.

Teachers must never exclude students from learning about STEM, STEAM, STREAM, CSTEAM and STEM2, they should make learning fun and most importantly relevant as to “WHY”  they need to be involved. Technology is no longer a field that you jump into because you like it, there are specific fields of work and very specific skillsets to manage and employ specific applications to perform specific functions or a purpose.

Education is vital because of the intricate and integrated applications where programs, Apps and tools are integrated onto platforms that help to solve problems. Bar Camps, WordCamps, EdCamps are great professional development resources and unpatrolled networking opportunities. The exposure to people, products and services helps me to improve my teaching and how to integrate and incorporate into dynamic lessons for students in elementary education and higher education. The resources to inspire, encourage and motivate students to envision that their life journeys can move into fields that are diverse as the technology that is being developed and integrated into everyday life.

Speaking at Bar Camp lifted my confidence level because the focus is on “content” to inspire and motivate your peers. Peers that don’t look like you, but are excited just as you are to learn from you. Peers that do not see your color, they do not worry about your culture, but want to gain an understanding of how to improve their abilities, skills and thinking. Taking themselves to a higher level because of your contribution and passion for what you know.

I’m always fascinated and excited to share what I have learned and continue to learn not just as an educator but as a speaker, community activist and user of diverse technologies that can be applied to education, ministry, mentoring youth, teens and young adults.

The words, “be part of something bigger than you are,” has new meaning when you attend a Bar Camp, WordCamp, EdCamp, Florida Blogging Conference, Blogging While Brown Conference, and the growing online learning opportunities through twitter like #EduMatch, #EduColor and others.

These 25 items are what I learned from Bar Camp during #OrlandoTech Week in Orlando, Florida.

1. Diversity is important in technology careers. The increase of diverse backgrounds, cultural upbringing, and even gender provides fresh ideas to solve new and continuing issues that we face in the world.

2. Timeing is still important, you must be at the right place at the right time to make a difference. Show up and show out.

3. Never doubt your ability to inspire others no matter what your educational background is, you always can inspire others.

4. Never doubt the power to collaboration. Embrace opportunities to work with others in difference fields.

5. Always respect the knowledge, creativity and innovation of developers, programmers and designers.

6. If you’re in the field of technology it is important to learn the language so you can communicate effectively and speak with knowledge.

7. Network your ass off when the opportunity presents itself. Being successful means getting involved, getting active and sharing your Brand.

8. Volunteer your knowledge to the youth so you can encourage another generation.

9. Respect your competition because they make you better.

10. Get to conferences, workshops, seminars early. The early bird gets the worm and new job or contract.

11. Everyone has SWAG, you just have to discover it and apply it.

12. Always have business cards at the ready and make sure they represent your Brand.

13. Develop your elevator speech, a 30 second speech can change your world and someone else’s.

14. Attend as many conferences, workshops, and seminars as possible. The more you know the more you grow, the more you go the more people know your name and abilities.  The more you go and grow the more you can speak and contribute.

15. Plan to attend Bar Camps, EdCamps, WordCamps to share and apply cross disciplinary information. Your skill level should be as diverse as your ability to talk the talk and walk the walk.

16. Get there early for the best T-shirts, coffee and snacks and volunteer to help setup.

17. Learn something new, you always have a new resource that may help you expand your Brand and resources.

18. Take the opportunity to speak and share your knowledge as a speaker. You can create a stir in 30 to 50 seconds by sharing the right knowledge at the right time.

19. Understand if your an introvert or extrovert so you can use those to your advantage.

20. Create and post content at least once a week and diversify with your Brand. SEO will build your web presence the more you post on diverse platforms.

21. Keep your CV – curriculum vitae and resume current.

22. Use Instagram, Rebel mouse, and Tumblr to tell your story when you can. If your African American integrate being a BLERD and NERD when you can.

23. Never underestimate the power of the # Hashtag. Use it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to connect with other Brands that share similar interests.

24. Never under estimate or under value women and people of color and culture in technology. Nobody likes a bully, racist, bigot or idiot.

25. Be kind, be courteous, be humble, be authentic.

Inspire children, youth, teens, young adults and even the elderly, they all can contribute. There are growing children businesses, where children and youth have dynamic ideas to be entrepreneurs.

To build a Brand based on being authentic and not afraid to dream big, work hard and expand into new territories.;

Staff Writer; William D. Jackson

Find out more about this talented writer over at; OCS For Education.